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How do I win an election?
February 9, 2010 2:22 PM   Subscribe

How do I win an election? I know all about the basics - but I would particularly like more in-depth, advanced information tailored to professionals on how to win.

I'm working on a fledgling campaign to support a ballot measure. The initiative enjoys broad support among the 18-29 demographic and solid support among lower-income residents. It also garners bipartisan support - nationally, majorities of both Republicans and Democrats support it. But there's a problem: our enemy's base votes, and our state's elected leaders use the power of their offices and a supplicant media to take potshots against us.

In the first half of the 2000s, this issue was on the ballot and we lost by less than 5 points. Basically, the state Republican leadership mobilized against us even though a majority of Republicans nationally support our issue, and seniors came out against us as well. We didn't rack up a big enough margin in the urban areas to stop the "death by a thousand cuts" margins of the rural counties: minus-100 votes here, minus-234 over there doesn't look too bad, but it adds up quickly.

Our obstacle is the 65+ demographic; this group is an absolute slaughter for us. I don't think we have any chance of persuading more than a handful of these folks, because it's primarily a cultural gap. They always vote, though - so I think the best we can hope for is bad Jello at the retirement center on Election Day or something. Basically, when we focus on turnout, I want these people to stay home - we don't want to inadvertently bring any of them to the polls. I'll be really blunt here: we think we have a shot this time around because our enemy's demographic is dying off and attitudes are changing. But we have to convince more Republicans to get on board and turn out our base.

Unfortunately, the precincts where we won last time with > 70% of the vote are also the precincts that have the lowest turnout. The biggest problem seems to be security apartments - we can't get in there to canvass, but that's exactly where our base lives.

Basically, I have a couple of main questions:

1. The fundamental question I have is this: should I focus my efforts on turning out more of our supporters and changing a few minds on the other side just to staunch the bleeding enough in the enemy areas to win? Or do we win by persuading a lot more people and dealing with the lower average turnout of our base?

2. Should we hire a field professional? How much does a really good pro cost, and can we use him/her on a short-term basis just to get things going?

We don't have an excessive amount of money - our final fundraising total will likely be less than a million dollars. I made some pretty extensive spreadsheets with formulas, so we know where we need to mobilize supporters. Some of us were thinking that a pro might make extensive use of proprietary algorithms or advanced targeting strategies that we couldn't do, but we're not sure.

3. Do we want to conduct a professional poll? We know of some top-notch pollsters, but we need to know if it's possible financially for us to hire them. Of course, none of them list an estimated cost on their websites. Since we know our precincts well and we have our "number" that we need to win, is polling still worthwhile?

4. Does GOTV work as well for an issue campaign as it does for a candidate? Some of us want to run ads and basically repeat our message over and over again, while others don't like that and want to focus entirely on field operations.

Thanks for reading all of this, and if you have any advice or suggestions, I would love to hear it.
posted by Despondent_Monkey to Law & Government (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a political consultant but since I work on the research end of things I can't really opine on strategy. But if you want to know what polling and other political services cost, the best thing is just to get in touch with a few firms and ask them to quote you. They should be willing to talk to you at no charge and give you a figure.

The other thing you can do is look up the campaign finance filings of comparative ballot initiatives and see what they paid. Or do both: get a quote and use the filings to compare it against what the firm charges others, what other firms charge for similar work, etc.

As far as other advice goes, I have a professional bias, but a top-notch research effort can be a very good investment in a competitive issues race. Big money interests often spend heavy, and you can typically get some good press coverage by "pulling back the curtain" on your opponents.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 2:36 PM on February 9, 2010


A few thoughts:

What's the issue? The utility of polling, for example, is going to vary depending on the issue's complexity. If it's a complicated issue, polling is going to be more valuable in helping to fine-tune your messaging than it would be otherwise. This matters for GOTV too. Is this a hot-button emotional issue? Are people going to be motivated to get out there on their own? Or are they going to need to be dragged out?

Micro-targeting is partly a function of professional training/ability but is also highly dependent on the data available. What kind of data do you have on voter demographics/past voting behavior? Have you considered spending money to acquire better data?
posted by ewiar at 2:37 PM on February 9, 2010


I have absolutely no experience in this matter, so I guess I can't really offer professional advice (so I'm sorry if this turns out to be noise instead of useful), but IMHO many seniors tend to take what they hear on TV a lot more seriously than younger generations. I bet if you can figure out which channels are most watched by seniors, and somehow get an ad spot, it'll be worth it.

Also, if you hadn't heard, back in 2008, comedian Sarah Silverman started a campaign she called the "Great Schlep" to get young liberals to "schlep" physically or virtually to Florida to convince their more conservative grandparents to vote for Obama. Apparently it was somewhat successful. I have no idea if you can adapt that sort of approach, but I thought I'd mention it.

IANAElectioneer.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:45 PM on February 9, 2010


I'm a 64-year-old progressive voter. I might well support your initiative. Don't automatically write off older people. Please, don't call us "enemies."
posted by Carol Anne at 2:54 PM on February 9, 2010


The issue is medical marijuana - we're working to decriminalize possession in our state of small amounts of cannabis for patients under a physician's supervision. We're not officially on the ballot yet, but barring a disaster, we will be.

I don't think it's too big of a hot-button issue - the only thing we have to deal with is strong opposition from the 65+ group, the usual law-enforcement scare tactics and the usual reefer madness outlook from the older demographics. Even self-identified Republicans give medical marijuana over 65% support nationally last time I checked the polls, so if we can translate a portion of that to our state we can win, even though we're in a really conservative area.

Last time around we were smeared constantly with a bunch of "Think of the children!11!!!" nonsense even though the issue had nothing to do with that. We'd like to nip that kind of hyperbole in the bud (pun intended?) this time around.

We're big on data, but we're still working to get more of it - because this issue has been on the ballot before, we have data to the precinct level on the votes. Unfortunately we have no public polling data or exit poll information available, and we don't have any voter files. The team from several years ago basically just ran advertisements and didn't build up a significant infrastructure due to lack of funds.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 2:57 PM on February 9, 2010


should I focus my efforts on turning out more of our supporters and changing a few minds on the other side just to staunch the bleeding enough in the enemy areas to win? Or do we win by persuading a lot more people and dealing with the lower average turnout of our base?

My experience has indicated strongly towards the later. With limited resources, it's been more effective to motivate your vote rather than trying to poach. I have only worked on local and state legislative campaigns for office, not ballot measures, however. I have seen, GOTV work really well for ballot initiatives if you have the right people in the field. People who are comfortable in the neighborhoods they are working in and articulate enough to connect the issue directly to those particular voters.

Make allies within the security apartments; people who are willing to host their building-mates in get togethers about the issue. See if any local business/organization/chruch would be willing to let you host you an event if canvassing in apartments is difficult. It's tedious, but you can reach a lot of people if you really reach out the local establishments.
posted by spaltavian at 3:11 PM on February 9, 2010


I'm assuming you've talked to the folks at NORML? They might have some data which could be of use, and would, I expect, have some experience in crafting the messaging for a ballot measure campaign.

I would also talk to the folks who have run successful campaigns in other states. Their experience, obviously, won't translate directly to yours, but they'll have good insights on messaging and may be able to recommend political professionals who could be of help.

Finally, I'm no longer a political professional, but it seems to me that there's an effective argument to be made to the older, law-and-order types that — particularly today, with state budgets facing unprecedented strains — the decriminalization of medicinal marijuana is simply a matter of responsible resource allocation under fiscal and other constraints. Every dollar spent and each police hour wasted in pursuit of medicinal marijuana growers is a dollar and an hour no longer available to catch real criminals. The people who turn out to vote against this measure aren't going to be won over by an appeal to compassion or an appeal to individual liberty.

So appeal to their wallets.
posted by ewiar at 3:14 PM on February 9, 2010


we don't have any voter files

I don't understand — how are you coming up with walk lists for canvassing or call lists for phonebanking?
posted by enn at 3:25 PM on February 9, 2010


Thanks - I'm getting some great answers so far. I like the suggestion about working the resource allocation argument, and we'll give it a try.

Just a note: I hate to generalize, but even as volunteer, I've learned that this can be a nasty business. If we don't make generalizations about which demographic groups support us and which groups don't, we'll always waste precious resources and we'll never be able to focus on our supporters.

On our similar initiative last time around (not medical marijuana but related to the war on cannabis users), we made an honest effort to reach out to some of the skeptical groups, and we found that people in the 30-44 group could be persuaded.

Although there are a lot of people in the 65+ group who support us, on a percentage basis it was something like 24 or 25% last time around and we were simply unable to make much headway. That's why I'm primarily inclined to focus on the younger demographics and leave that group alone.

It sounds heartless, and I will freely admit I'm an asshole, but I'm an asshole that wants to win.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 3:26 PM on February 9, 2010


Enn, we have some voter files but they're horribly out of date - the previous group is long gone and we basically only have a few volunteers and some ideas on paper right now.

Like I said, we're basically just starting out right now from scratch, so we really need to do everything from the ground up.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 3:30 PM on February 9, 2010



Although there are a lot of people in the 65+ group who support us, on a percentage basis it was something like 24 or 25% last time around and we were simply unable to make much headway. That's why I'm primarily inclined to focus on the younger demographics and leave that group alone.


That is the right approach. Go after undecideds. GOTV does work for an issue campaign, and you should blast your favorables with it.
posted by jgirl at 5:45 PM on February 9, 2010


I agree with jgirl. Although Carol Anne's right that it's probably not helpful to speak of older voters as "the enemy", you should definitely write them off. Spend your time and money on those most likely to be persuadable.
posted by ewiar at 5:48 PM on February 9, 2010


I've worked on a bunch of electoral campaigns and a bunch more issue campaigns, mostly in field, but some in comms and research. It sounds like you guys really, really need a general consultant with a strong field background.

Your analysis sounds pretty solid. If you only lost by ~4 points last time, and turnout was the issue, well, then you just need to increase your turnout by around 2%. You can do that with a good field staff.

And honestly, what on earth are you doing with a $1million budget and no field staff? You could hire 5 solid field organizers for $10k/month plus benefits. Hire a general consultant/campaign manager to manage them, as well as the media budget.

To your questions:

1. ... should I focus my efforts on turning out more of our supporters and changing a few minds on the other side just to staunch the bleeding enough in the enemy areas to win? Or do we win by persuading a lot more people and dealing with the lower average turnout of our base?

For now, the former. It sounds like you have a turnout problem, not a persuasion problem.

2. Should we hire a field professional? How much does a really good pro cost, and can we use him/her on a short-term basis just to get things going?

Again, yes, you should. I can't really tell you how much it'll cost without knowing where you are, who you're looking at, etc, but I would personally go with someone who has a few cycles of experience under their belt and is looking for a chance to really prove themselves, or who has just set out their own market stall as a consultant. In general, you can get someone a lot cheaper on an hour-by-hour basis if you're willing to put them on staff. For reference, if I were to take such a job here in my city, I would charge $75/hour or or expect to be paid $5000/month.

Someone at that level will not have "proprietary algorithms" and in general I am big fan of sophisticated targeting, but honestly, I'm not convinced you need algorithms in this case. You just need to devise and execute a better plan to get your base out to vote.

3. Do we want to conduct a professional poll? We know of some top-notch pollsters, but we need to know if it's possible financially for us to hire them. Of course, none of them list an estimated cost on their websites. Since we know our precincts well and we have our "number" that we need to win, is polling still worthwhile?

This is something that a general consultant can help you figure out. I think that in this case, polling would be most useful to you to help you figure out what messaging is most motivating to your base. But polling is extremely expensive, so you want to figure out exactly what you would want to get out of a poll, since you will probably only get one shot.

4. Does GOTV work as well for an issue campaign as it does for a candidate?

Yes.

Some of us want to run ads and basically repeat our message over and over again, while others don't like that and want to focus entirely on field operations.

Why would you run ads with your message over and over when there are so few persuadables? Again, this seems to be a turnout campaign, not a persuasion campaign, so focusing on your field operation, with targeted media to your base (facebook ads, for instance, are shockingly cheap) is probably your safest bet.

we have some voter files but they're horribly out of date

Yeah, you need a professional.

I actually know some that I would be happy to recommend (not me), so feel free to memail me if you're interested.
posted by lunasol at 6:40 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the apartment challenge is something that any field operative with urban experience will know how to deal with. It's never easy to deal with, but there are workable strategies, like finding building "captains" (essentially, supporters who will canvass their neighbors in the building).
posted by lunasol at 6:42 PM on February 9, 2010


Make it personal and emotional to make it resonate with a specific group.

Why not air emotional, senior constituent testimonials about their personal or a loved one's seeking relief that only medical marijuana could bring?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:32 PM on February 9, 2010


you just need to increase your turnout by around 2%.

Oops, make that 4%.
posted by lunasol at 7:41 PM on February 9, 2010


Thanks for all of the information, lunasol.

We are definitely an insurgent campaign at this point - I'm the volunteer "strategy guy" and we have a couple of other committed people working with us to get off the ground at this point. The nice thing for us is that it's still early - in fact, we're not even officially on the ballot yet. We haven't hired anybody and I am trying to convey to the others that while signature gathering can work as an all-volunteer effort, we are now in a different phase of the campaign and it's unlikely that we'll win unless we professionalize things.

Based on the other initiative last time around, we will probably raise a total amount of money that is less than $500,000. We're in a fairly low-cost area, but with this war chest, our activities are going to have to be highly focused and our budget will have to be airtight.

I'm not the head of the effort, but I do have a pretty good amount of influence in the campaign. I'll talk to the people in charge immediately and try to convince them to begin organizing for the election.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 7:58 PM on February 9, 2010


I used to work as a state-level field director and policy analyst. This book was pretty much my bible, and will give you a great, comprehensive feel for how all the organizing needs to be done. I'll add the following:

The 18-29s: You say that your issue polls strong among 18-29s, but they present a whole slug of problems, most of them stemming from their high mobility. If they don't stay in one place for long enough, your voter database lists are going to be worthless, and you might have to spend just as much time registering these folks to vote as you'll spend talking about the issues. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as voter reg drives will improve your image by making you look more civic-minded, but I'm sure you've got pretty limited resources. Also, this demographic just doesn't vote unless they're really passionate about it or if they were going to be at the polls anyway.

Stakeholders: The people who are going to be your most vocal supporters, and perhaps the only folks who are going to turn up for the ballot measure, are folks whose interests align with those of your cause. Have you talked to the local libertarian party, local medical/pharmacy groups, NORML, SSDP, university/community college groups?

The 65+ group: don't reify them. They're fairly heterogeneous, and you'd be surprised at the headway you can make just by trying to identify sympathetic subsets. For instance, go hang round the local American Legion post for awhile and I'm sure that you'll run into more than a few 'Nam vets for whom chronic pain is an issue and Thai Stick is more than a Big Lebowski reference.
posted by The White Hat at 8:20 PM on February 9, 2010


Please pay for some professionals. There are people who have worked on exactly this issue, who would be happy to give you some amount of free advice and more paid support and expertise. Who wins elections in your state? What are good campaigns that have won in the last couple of years, and who ran them?

Are you talking to ASA? DPA or MPP? Do you have patients lined up with good, media-friendly stories? Local LEAP members who can talk the law enforcement talk? Talk to the people who ran the most recent campaigns, both initiative like Maine and legislative like New Jersey. What worked for them and what didn't? Which states are most like yours in terms of demographics? What state are you in?

Polling can help you segment your audience and target your messages but it can also help raise money and build support (everyone wants to support a winning campaign). There's enough money out there for this issue that you should be able to hire professionals. Raise the money and pay them. Memail me if you want more thoughts or referrals.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:05 PM on February 9, 2010


Professional political operative here but based in UK so allow for local variations.

The answer to ‘How do I win an election’ is: you carefully pick an election that’s already won; failing that you pick a winnable fight.

You’ve painted a careful picture of your issue and media and political landscape. Naturally, you’ve put as positive a spin on it as you can, but, candidly, I think that you’ve got an uphill battle on your hands.

Let’s look at your base:

the 18-29 demographic… lower-income residents

Neither of whom bother to vote.

Garners bipartisan support nationally… majorities of both Republicans and Democrats support

Garners bipartisan lip service more like (which is ironic because the concept of bipartisanship appears to get little more than lip service itself); national adversely affects (e.g. war in Iraq) local but seldom positively. You will not benefit from the endorsement of national politicians at a local level unless they are down and dirty with your campaign.

Our enemy's base votes, and our state's elected leaders use the power of their offices and a supplicant media to take potshots against us.

Right so you’re facing an uphill battle against an opposition with all of the benefits of incumbency and access to the apparatus of power. And you haven’t won over the press. Not looking good, is it?

Our obstacle is the 65+ demographic… it's primarily a cultural gap

i.e. you’re dealing with a highly motivated opposition which votes like it’s an obligation, which feels hugely strongly about your issue.

You may be butting up against the advocates’ dilemma here. You understand that your position is morally right but you’re having trouble convincing a plurality of people of this, sufficient for them to vote to that effect. Against you is a group who feel sufficiently strongly about an issue to be able to stymie reform against it.

From a purely representational point of view, democracy is satisfied. Bluntly, you may have to accept that your community is not ready for the measure you advocate yet; that a cultural shift is required before a blocking majority is no longer there. This might require leaving this issue, waiting for the over 65s to die off and come back to it in 10-15 years. In the meantime, you concentrate on social mobilisation/ cultural change so this fight isn’t unwinnable next time.

But, but, but. You’re in this fight; let’s fight. Saddle up.

Media relations/ proactive PR

This is your first priority and it’s telling that you don’t even mention it in your post. You need to cultivate relationships with every media outlet that is talking to your voters. You need to be talking to said journalists and production staff at least every other day. Have something to offer them every time, things happening in the community, a case study about people suffering as a result of the measure not being in place. The idea is that you’re moving the undecided towards you and giving supportive journalists ammunition to rebut and challenge competing media outlets which are against you.

Triangulate – modify and appropriate the other side’s arguments. You need crystal clear key messages; road test them before going live. You need a grid, setting out which messages are deployed at which stage in the campaign and you need to be totally focussed on consistency of message. Repetition, repetition, repetition.

It will become clear that some outlets will be implacably hostile. In these circumstances your positioning is that you insist on right of reply and a recognition that broadcasting should at least nod in the direction of absence of bias. (Harder in the States where there aren’t there same impartiality requirements that there are in the UK but I digress.)

You want to make sure that every time this issue comes up, that you’re putting someone up against their pundit so they’re not kicking endless balls into endless open goals. Adverse media is not publishing/ broadcasting to a 100% true believer audience (e.g. TVs in bars) so being out there, rationally making your case opposite fleck-spittled cultural conservatives will raise your profile, your game and your vote.

You also need a steady, targeted stream of press releases on your subject, with content. Remember the journalist's rule that news has five w’s and and an h– so should your press releases. Draw up your media relations targets list; colour code for disposition to your campaign.

Do more media relations.

Advertising

As a rule in one ear, out the other. Do enough such that you can redress any kind of ‘David vs. Goliath’ misperception but don’t expend a large amount of your funds here - people are very, very good at tuning this stuff out. You want to occupy a similar amount of space and airtime as your opponent is buying (unless it gets silly, in which case special conditions pertain) as this puts your campaign on a level pegging in the voters’ mind but don’t count on changing any minds with this stuff.

Direct marketing is more effective but again massively expensive and if you’re trying to DIY it then you’ve already got people going door to door – they should be knocking on them, not just stuffing things through letterboxes.

Incidentally, as a side note there is precisely zero point in leafleting multiple occupancy units where you can’t get past the front door. Canvassing via a speaker phone is a labour of the damned but you will (eventually) get let in – don’t leave until you’ve knocked up every single unit.

Black ops


You’re in an uphill fight, with an enemy who holds all the cards against you. You need to establish your campaign as credible, professional and effective. Once you’ve done so, you can disavow rogue elements engaged in unsavoury practices.

First thing you need to do is to go through with a fine tooth comb every aspect of the other side’s advocates’ lives. Expense claims, tax returns, Freedom of Information disclosures, entries on registers of shareholders, declarations of interest and a million and one other sources. Previous career? Messy divorce? Kids like to party a bit too much?

Remember ‘follow the money’. Who benefits from the measure not being introduced? Who’s being enriched? By how much (hint, company filings)? Any funny business? Overseas special purpose vehicles; auditors removed in strange circumstances?

Can you get someone inside the ‘no campaign’ if there is one? What are your connections among local government officials like? Do you know the name of every official who’d be involved in implementing the measure? You should, and what’s more you should have had a discreet coffee with as many of them as will agree to it. Face to face approach. Be polite; professional.

Professional operators

Professional political operators can be extraordinarily effective but you should look at them more as project managers rather than as green berets who you call in to engage in heroics and win a lost battle. Worse still is to see them as, wizards who turn up with a spell book, perform an incantation and the battle is won.

This is a people subject – soft power is what’s needed. Algorithms are not, I’m afraid the answer to your quandary.

A pro will understand the chronology of a campaign and will have themes for each section (this is where we introduce ourselves to the voters; this is when we make the case for our issue; this is when the embarrassing revelations that the opposition’s key spokesman is boning his intern hits the media; this is our advocates’ dignified call for tolerance and forgiveness; this is polling day).

Also, this is their job – they’ll do it 45+ hours a week allowing volunteers to concentrate on advocacy rather than administration and organisation without risking their jobs/grades or going without sleep for a month. Grit your teeth. They will be expensive. They will be worth it.

Polling

Polling is unbelievably expensive. Last time I did any, it was £100,000 although that was nationally representative. Go to your best local University and recruit some stats post grads who can give you some hints. It sounds like your area is contiguous and manageable enough that you might well be able to work out some thing that you can rely on for internal purposes from a few hours outside corner shops.

That said, it can’t hurt to take an hour of the local Gallupaccount executive’s time and work out what they can do for you at various price points. Also, don’t discount the effectiveness of online, cut price polling agencies such as YouGov (UK only I’m afraid but In understand that there’s similar services available on the other side of the pond.)

If however you’re thinking about polling for comms/ media relations purposes (e.g. press release saying 51% of local residents support prop x) then recognise that this is a shit way of expending your meagre budget.

You’ll get far more comms bang for your buck with other angles. Besides, if you’re doing your media relations right you should be able to persuade media outlets to do polling which doesn’t presume you lose. Once again, hit the phones.

Advocates

Who’ve you got fronting you up? You need community leaders prepared to go on record in the public domain about your issue. Have you got preachers advancing your cause from the pulpit yet? In diverse communities you’re going to need to identify, reach out to and cultivate a wide range of community leaders. Make each feel like he’s (and they will be ‘he’) the leader of the group who’ll tip you over the edge. They need to be personally invested in your issue.

You need to be on the phone daily to the Dems at local and national level asking for representation, resources, loan of local representatives to front up the campaign. Particularly if your core vote is clustered in Dem represented communities.

Get out the vote/ field ops

Get out the vote is all well and good but unless you’re close, it’s a total waste of time and resources. I’ve done campaigns which have been won by 20 votes or less on four recounts but yours doesn’t – at present – sound like it’s going to be one of those. Even so, having a small fleet of supporters on hand on the night to pick up the old, infirm and otherwise incapable and take them to the polling booth and back is a nice way of saying ‘thank you, we’ll support you however you need it’ on the night.

In terms of getting the vote out, you need to be canvassing and knocking on doors, as much as you practically can. You are using ‘knocking up sheets’ when you do so, aren’t you? This allows to your accurately capture voting intention and voter sentiment on your issue and may allow you to sidestep your problems about polling. The data from knocking up is what you can apply analytics to but at this granular a level, this is not going to be hugely effective – you know which neighbourhoods will vote for your proporsition.

Get out the vote is effective but it takes huge manpower from your campaign to knock on doors/ call and say to each voter who’s not yet come out of the polling station “Have you voted yet? No? Please, get down there and do so. Take the wife; no, seriously, please”

Lots to think about here. Funnily enough, I’m free in two weeks time so if you fancy having an odd-sounding Limey campaign co-ordinator, drop me a line!! More seriously though, if I can be of any assistance do let me know.

Do more media relations. Good luck.

posted by dmt at 5:51 AM on February 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


What credentials are necesary to get elected to a State House of Represenatives seat?

I just signed up for this site today, so I am not permitted to post a question to the stie just yet. However, I am currently a college Senior and Political Science student at the University of Washington in Seattle. Over the past two years I have gained valuable political experiece, yet I am not sure how to continue building my credentials as I would like to eventually run for a political office. My experience includes,

Internship- U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (in Seattle office)

Internship- U.S. Representative Norm Dicks (Washington D.C. Office)

Executive Policy Internship- Governor of Washington State (Chris Gregoire)

I am also active in student government as well.
My next step will be graduate school and I am choosing between a Masters in Public Administration or a Law Degree.

I spent some time working in the King County Prosecutor's Office and found it to be a complete tangent from politics. I do not believe getting a law degree will be beneficial if I never intend to practice. However, it seems to be the norm that legislator's go to law school(if you are a Dem).

Do I need to have a law degree if I am going to run as a Democrat?

Thanks so much for your help.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
posted by mbenezra at 2:10 PM on February 17, 2010


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